Review Summary: I am the ocean, I am the sea
When discussing emotional catalysts set to music, there are plenty of examples to mention. Nirvana has In Utero
, Weezer has Pinkerton
, Brand New has The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me
, and other bands have other releases that are seen as classics in one way or another. It’s said that music as an art form is meant to capture a more personal response out of those who choose to appreciate it, and that’s why the idea of the “tortured soul” is intriguing. While not regarded near as highly as the three aforementioned albums, Bring Me the Horizon’s There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret
, like its younger counterpart Sempiternal
, is their own catalyst of emotional turmoil. Whether it’s the begging and pleading of a song like “Don’t Go” or “It Never Ends” or the self-destructive, heat-of-the-moment tendencies of “Alligator Blood” or “Fuck”, the band proved here, as well as on their follow-up, that they were capable of crafting an album that takes people on a journey through their minds.
There’s no better representation for the cathartic pull of There is a Hell...
than the opener its name comes from; “Crucify Me” is a song which contains beautifully orchestrated synth work and a feature from Canadian singer Lights, who capitalizes on the light/dark dynamic that the album is defined by. As an introductory statement for what was to come on the record and my own personal introduction to Bring Me the Horizon years back, “Crucify Me” is an emotionally weighted number that still stands tall against the best they have to offer. Other such moments in this vein include the overdramatic but still believable “It Never Ends”, a tale about how the band’s sudden rise to fame affected singer Oliver Sykes’ mental health, “Don’t Go” and “Blessed With a Curse” which emphasize the more lovelorn side of Sykes and co., and the nonsensical but still fun “Alligator Blood” that relies on outside references to symbolize the self-destructive path that depression can lead one into. “Fuck” is also of particular note, as Josh Franceschi (You Me At Six) manages to channel the writer’s more hedonistic desires in a more anthemic manner, singing about how they’re “young and in love / heart attacks waiting to happen.”
Unfortunately not everything here is top-notch, as “Blacklist”, “Home Sweet Hole”, and “Anthem” don’t quite hit the same peaks as the rest of the album, and “The Fox and the Wolf” feels a tad bit out of place in the tracklist despite being just as fun and ferocious as the likes of “Alligator Blood” and “Fuck”. That being said, the few missteps taken on here are far less noticeable than they were on 2008’s Suicide Season,
as none of the tracks I mentioned are bad, just not as
amazing. Considering this was a test bed for what was to become Sempiternal
a few short years later, they’re faults that make sense in the grand scheme of things. The atmosphere on tracks like “Don’t Go” and “Blessed With a Curse” is almost intense enough to override the few misfires. And for what it’s worth, you’re not always going to come out with the most poignant work ever when your mind is being overwhelmed with emotions that you’re unsure of how to process. That is the essence of what There Is a Hell…
truly is; it isn’t here to please the masses with its glaring overdramatics and self-destructive tendencies, but it doesn’t need to. It’s a self-serving cut of emotionally-tinged, atmospheric metalcore from a band who has since moved on to different things post-Sempiternal.